Erindi Private Game Reserve, an Etosha alternative?

By David Woutersen

Namibia is full of great game reserves and national parks. There are many private game reserves, like Erindi, and National parks. Etosha being the most well-known and having some of the most diverse species in all of Southern Africa. This includes many endangered species, such as Black Rhino’s and African Wild Dogs, and probably the largest groups of Springboks I’ve ever seen.

Erindi Private Game Reserve, an Etosha Alternative

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Etosha National Park

Etosha is located in the Northern parts of Namibia. A 6-hour drive from Windhoek should take you to one of the main campsites, Okaukeujo.
The park is 22,270 square kilometers large and is named after the large salt pan found roughly in its center.

Etosha National Park Pan

The park has a lot to offer and can take quite a long time to get through. The 2 largest campsites are approximately 140km apart, and there are many more areas surrounding, that are just asking to be explored. In my opinion, you would need at least 5 days to fully take in the diversity of the whole park.

But what if you do not have 5 days?

There may be an alternative if animals and Namibian nature are what you’re looking for. Namely, Erindi Private Game Reserve.

This isn’t exactly a review, but since we had such a great time at Erindi and due to its proximity to Windhoek, we needed to make this post… So maybe it is a review, we’ll just have to see at the end of this article. 😉

Erindi Private Game Reserve

Chilling at the Watering hole at Erindi

Erindi is a Private Game Reserve, one of the largest (if not the largest) located in Namibia. Measuring in with an area of approximately 700 square kilometers. Now, this may not seem like much compared to Etosha, but it does bode well for those looking to get up close with animals and experience the Namibian savannahs more quickly… maybe quickly isn’t the correct term here… compactedly perhaps?

I would describe Erindi as being a more concentrated version of Etosha, in terms of animals… Concentrated, there’s the word! 😊

Erindi is divided into 2 areas, marked by their 2 campsites.

Old Traders Lodge

The Old Traders Lodge is an impressive luxury campsite with 51 luxury suites, a colonial-style restaurant, and a deck that overlooks a busy watering hole with majestic long views over the savannah, the real feel of a 5-star resort.

One suite in particular even has its own private garden with a balcony that overlooks the watering hole. The suite has a large open-air design and even an outdoor shower. Here you also get frequent visits from the Grey Loeries, also known as the Go-Away-Bird, known for making a “Go-Away” sound and warning other species from potential danger.

Camp Elephant

Hippo at Erindi, Animals in Namibia

The second campsite is called Camp Elephant, stylish bush chalets and campsite, constructed around a watering hole home to a few hippos and crocodiles as well as the visiting animals that are looking for a drink.

Camp Elephant has a homestead shop for food and other necessities you may require on your stay, as well as a pool area, playground, and laundromat.

The campsites all have a toilet, solar-heated shower, and hand basin, as well as individual kitchens, with a washing up and food-preparation area. Each campsite even has its own vehicle awning, 6-seater picnic bench, and a braai with an adjustable grid.

The chalets themselves are self-catering, making them great if you just want your peace and quiet, and to be the closest to the watering hole. Each chalet has 2 bedrooms. These contain 2 single beds and come fully stocked with pots, pans, a stove, microwave, etc. Outside you’ll find 2 braai areas, yes, two! One covered and one uncovered, plus a large picnic bench.

Activities at Erindi, Namibia

The two different campsites offer a wide variety of different activities:

  • Guided game drives
  • Private game drives
  • Under 6’s game drives, especially made for families with little children
  • Night drives
  • Leopard drives
  • Self-drive routes.
Male Lion at Erindi

Apart from the drives, you can also experience numerous walks; guided through the bush, bushman art, leopard project walks, cheetah walks, and even visit one of the local san villages.

The reserve partakes in a number of conservation projects, some of which you can even be a part of; such as Pangolin tracking and the global Leopard project, plus a couple more.

Erindi is host to a few unique photography experiences. These include private photographic safaris, private birding drives, and even a fly your drone safari. This one is especially noteworthy as drones are illegal in all of Namibia’s National Parks.

Where is Erindi

Erindi Omaruru Gate

The Reserve is located near Omaruru, although I wouldn’t expect that to mean much to you. 😉

It’s about a 2-hours drive from Windhoek, as well as being conveniently 3 hours from Swakopmund, making it easy to fit into any travel itinerary.

Wildlife at Erindi

Wildlife at Erindi

Erindi is home to:

  • Lions
  • Hippos
  • Crocodiles
  • Blue Wildebeest
  • African Elephants
  • Gemsbok
  • Kudu
  • Leopards
  • Cheetahs
  • Honey-Badgers
  • Brown & Spotted Hyenas
  • African Wild Dogs
  • Baboons
  • Servals
  • Caracals
  • Aardwolves
  • Striped Polecats
  • And many others, as well as over 300 endemic bird species.

The best way to see some of these animals is to go on game drives, if you’re hoping to see a specific animal, in particular, a private game drive will give you the opportunity to have a 1-on-1 chat with one of the reserves very knowledgeable guides. They will, more often than not, even take you to see the animals you’re looking to see.

This was one of the major highlights during our visit.

Impressive Guided Tours at Erindi

For us, one of the animals I never anticipated seeing in the wild was an Aardwolf. Whilst they may not be in danger of extinction, their behavior means they’re very hard to find. Being mainly nocturnal and shy, whilst staying in their burrows during the day, they are difficult to spot in the open.

Aardwolf at Erindi in Namibia

We had the opportunity to see one of these rare and beautiful animals. Which brings me to the benefit of having a game drive in this smaller reserve. The guides can become acquainted with the movement patterns and burrows of animals. Meaning there is a much higher possibility of finding these animals that may be difficult to come by in the larger National Parks, like leopards as well.

They are also aware of how to go about with the animals without disturbing them an unusual amount.

‘Fly Your Drone’ Safari

As you may have noticed, there are over 20 activities at Erindi to partake in. Some are very unique experiences to come up close with wild animals and to witness how nature conservation is done by one of Namibia’s leading conservation reserves.

Photography is also something that Erindi specializes in, seen in a few activities. One of which is truly unique in Namibia due to the law in National Parks I touched on earlier. Namely, the fly your drone safaris. Of course, flying around the lodges and large animals is not permitted, that should just be common sense. If you have a drone though, you can take it out on these safaris and you’ll be able to achieve new perspectives of this beautiful landscape previously only capturable by loud, gas-guzzling helicopters.

Erindi’s Self-Catering Chalets

The self-catering chalets provided us with just the right amount of luxury and convenience. The watering hole is a mere matter of steps away.

I could sit back at the outside table with a cold drink in one hand, the camera in the other… I’ll be the first to admit that this may not be the best technique for capturing the surrounding nature though.

The hippos from the watering hole would make the occasional bubbling and there would be the odd rumble of Wildebeest circling once they realized there’s been a crocodile observing them the entire time. The crocodile didn’t cause anything noteworthy during our stay, besides being mostly invisible for the first day. Once we realized it wasn’t just an imposing log lying there besides the watering hole, it seemed to spark into life.

Crocodile at Erindi

The braai (BBQ) areas are cleaned daily and the interior living areas were quite comfortable. I even managed to watch a (European) football match one evening on the flat screen, which was completely unexpected. Another bonus that has absolutely nothing to do with the reserve is the great sunsets. Alright, the majority of the chalets were positioned quite well, to take advantage of the incredible dusks and dawns. So I’ll have to give props there.

Our chalet came with a bonus 7 am alarm clock… a Partridge. He would enjoy breakfast with us every morning. We later adopted it and named him Mr. Chuckles. We had to, unfortunately, leave Mr. Chuckles behind, turns out you can’t just adopt wild animals in Private Game Reserves.

Alan the Partridge at Erindi

Game Drives in Erindi

Whilst game drives may start to add up in price, you can keep the costs down by going on self-drives through Erindi’s 4 trails. These, equate to about 100kms in total.

The self-drive routes make a lot of sense if you’re a family or larger group or just plan on staying for more than one night. You’ll have access to the reserve’s 4 trails throughout the day for less than the price of a single person’s game drive.

A 4×4 is definitely recommended, though not required for 2 of the routes (most of the time). To get the best out of the experience and to conquer some of the more mountainous areas, where Leopards tend to stay, I’d recommend a 4×4 though.

Kia Picanto Namibia Erindi

On our last visit, just after the rainy season, we didn’t intend on doing any self-drives. Having had a look at what the rains did to the roads during one of the game drives we realized it was a great decision. There was no chance our economical Kia 4×4 Picanto was going to make the grade… speaking of grade, they started grading the roads the day we left… we could at least make the journey out of the park without having to execute some pro-level 4×4’ing in the little donkey.

Verdict – Erindi Private Game Reserve

All in all, Erindi offers an amazing Namibian safari experience. Whilst it could be considered an Etosha alternative, it provides so many unique experiences it should stand alone as a destination by itself.

This may have turned into a review, and in so, I’ll leave you with my best recommendation.

A 2-night stay to take in the natural beauty of this amazing private reserve, at least one guided drive, depending on whether or not you’ve got a capable vehicle, and ask questions. Ask lots of questions.

Erindi Private Game Reserve an Alternative to Etosha

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Have you been to Erindi yet? Let us know how it was in the comments below. 😊

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